UN agency aiding Palestinian refugees appeals for funds to Gaza

The United Nations agency aiding Palestinian refugees urged Arab Gulf countries Thursday to provide about US$ 9.8 million in aid money for Gaza. The money would buy food, medicine and other supplies for Palestinians - especially children and pregnant women - suffering under the blockade of Gaza, said Peter Ford, a representative for UNRWA's commissioner general. It would also fund fuel for hospitals and cash assistance to the needy, he said. "The siege has led to a significant increase in the burden on Palestinian civilians," Ford said. Israel sealed off Gaza last weak, halting fuel shipments and shutting down its only power plant, which provides electricity to about one-third of Gaza's 1.5 million residents after militants launched rocket attacks on Israeli settlements.